I shift the stick into gear. Check to ensure no traffic. Commence delicate balancing act of my shoes hovering above the accelerator pedal. With a gradual clutch release, the vehicle is in motion—backwards.
An ear-splitting scream is emitted from the scrape of metal upon metal. Glass explodes. Two bodies jump, necks jerk. Seat belts tighten. The car vibrates and shudders.
Embedded in the boot compartment was a large pole squashing the back seat to half its size, now windowless.
Meanwhiles the wheels were still smoking, engine roaring, the car shuddering—backwards.
Two feet stomped on the brakes and the car stalled still, followed by a smoke-clearing silence.
My skin prickles at the racket reminding of nails scratching across the glass, with the added bonus of an off-key bugle bleating as iron and metal bent behind us.
No, it was coming from above us.
Our eyes shoot to the roof’s interior. Birds screech. Our bodies flinch. I cover my scalp, wincing at the noise of screaming twisting steel that topples and bounces with an earthquake shake.
It just missed the bonnet by a cat-whiskers breath, with the car now the centre of a triangle, between the road and the bent tee-pee styled pole.
Power lines whip freely like snakes across the asphalt as houses are shut-down and neighbours start to poke their heads outdoors.
Inside the compacted sedan, I turn to my driving instructor and said, “So, that’s reverse gear, huh?”
Do you remember your first driving lesson?
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